Do Opossums Carry Ticks?

Like many other pests, opossums are known to attract parasites such as the black-legged tick, which is the primary carrier of Lyme disease. Late summer is prime time for ticks, and opossums could be infested with hundreds of them.

The Long-Standing Battle between Opossums and Ticks

Opossums do a great job attacking ticks that pester them. Since the animals thoroughly groom themselves, they kill thousands of ticks per season, quelling the spread of Lyme disease. However, since their success rate is high but not perfect, opossums in the yard can still increase tick populations.

Other Problems

In addition to issues with opossums and ticks, homeowners should be concerned with the pests on their property for other reasons. Opossums can be aggressive, scavenge in trash cans and yards, and are known carriers of tularemia and leptospirosis.

Prevention

As with many other pests, exclusion and habitat modification are the best ways to prevent an opossum infestation:

  • Block openings and holes that could be used as entrances to decks, porches, and outdoor structures.
  • Clean up all fallen fruit and outdoor food, making sure pets eat inside.
  • Keep trash cans tightly sealed to remove attractive smells and restrict access.
  • Trim overgrown vegetation and eliminate wood piles for denning.

All of these tips can deter some opossums and ticks from the home, but the pests may still find their way onto yards. In this case, it is best to leave safe and effective removal to the professionals at Critter Control.